NASPE (HRS) Founders
J. Warren Harthorne, MD, FHRS, CCDS
Seymour Furman, MD, CCDS
Victor Parsonnet, MD, FHRS, CCDS
Dryden P. Morse, MD
The early, game-changing breakthroughs in pacemaker technology came in the 1950s and '60s, but the field of clinical cardiac electrophysiology did not start to take shape until the 1970s. Frustrated by what they perceived as a lack of attention from mainstream cardiology organizations, four pioneering cardiologists founded the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) in 1979, later renamed the Heart Rhythm Society.
NASPE's founders — J. Warren Harthorne, MD, FHRS, CCDS; Seymour Furman, MD, CCDS; Victor Parsonnet, MD, FHRS, CCDS; and Dryden P. Morse, MD — wanted to improve the practice and professionalism of their fledgling field, and they succeeded spectacularly. The early days of the society, however, were not exactly auspicious. Its first president was chosen when he left the room during the initial organizing meeting in Dr. Parsonnet’s office at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, and couldn’t defend himself. The first business meeting attracted 35 intrepid souls, and the first scientific meeting, held at the end of ACC’s 1980 annual Scientific Session, featured six speakers who made their presentations to 112 attendees. For several years, NASPE ran out of a corner file cabinet in Dr. Harthorne’s office at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
But their idea was one whose time had come. The field was taking off just as NASPE was getting started, and the two became inextricably linked. Today, HRS produces the world’s premier arrhythmia scientific meeting, publishes the leading cardiac arrhythmia journal, HeartRhythm, and helps set clinical standards for patient care. HRS collaborates extensively with fellow arrhythmia societies around the world, including Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS), European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), and Latin American Heart Rhythm Society (LAHRS), and is the voice of the global heart rhythm community.